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Artists as diverse as Lou Reed, Queen, Jane's Addiction, Camper Van Beethoven, and the Police have all been variously cited as influences for the band.

The first time I listened to Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life,” the song put me in a state of pure pop bliss — in fact, it was one of the last times I can remember hearing something on the radio and actually being excited to go buy the CD.

The song tossed the last handful of earth on grunge’s coffin, reappropriating the airwaves once and for all for clean-cut, mildly dangerous dudes who knew how to cover a hook in sticky, sweet ear candy.

But no, they had to go and record an enjoyably solid, albeit unspectacular, set of songs that — though not without the occasional Jenkins groaner — threads the needle pretty nimbly between past and present. Jenkins’ ability to infuriate remains undimmed, but as a songwriter, he’s learned to step back from that ledge, my friend, and paint his protagonists as people whose stories are simply worth telling rather than deserving of U2 levels of grandeur.

Nothing here suggests the rafters-shaking pop majesty of “Semi-Charmed Life” or “Blinded,” but on the other hand, there really aren’t any bad songs — only pompous song titles (“Dao of St. spreads its charms across its dozen tracks rather than shooting its wad on one terrific single, which is fortunate, because singles no longer matter; as a result, it may very well be the band’s best — or at the very least, most consistently enjoyable — album. has gone trolling for shitty new music from artists well past their dubious prime, and both times, I’ve come away painfully, publicly empty-handed.

Faced with the unbeatable combination of an imploding industry, the band’s abandonment by roughly 5.5 million fairweather fans, and a complete lack of label support, stiffed quickly and quietly — a failure compounded by the fact that it contained Jenkins’ most mature, consistent batch of songs.